May 8, 2009

Crystal balls are notoriously unreliable

Thinking you know the future is a risky bet, but somehow some journalism-2.0 types feel emboldened by recent cutbacks and circulation drops to confidently predict the end of an entire industry - to the point that they dismiss the idea of an alternative outcome. Here's a recent example from Scott Rosenberg:
The good news was that the event, titled “What Comes After Newspapers?,” really didn’t waste a lot of time asking, “How do we save newspapers?” but largely accepted that their day is ending. You might think this is obvious, but too many of these gatherings today are still stuck in rescue mode.
Newspapers might die off. Then again, they might not. If you're invested in their extinction, then I guess I can understand the psychology of planning their wake. If you just want people to take the threat of extinction more seriously - or to take alternative ways of presenting news more seriously - there are better arguments to make. Best of all, show us the plan that takes us beyond newspapers and avoid the argument altogether.

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